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Old 01-17-2011, 03:07 PM   #1
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Default O/T knee reconstruction

Just curious if anyone else has been through ACL reconstruction by Hamstring allograft? I have an injury that I've been putting off since college but had to finally get it done after several issue with it this year. Chose hamstring for the graft site after talking with my surgeon and researching on the net. Anyways had the surgery last Weds and am going kinda stir crazy.... Been doing my rehab for the first week on my own, which is mostly range of motion to 90 degrees, ankle pumps and quad/hammy contractions, and start supervised PT on Thursday after my post op... Knee hurts but is not unbearable, most of the soreness I am experiencing is in the hammy just above the knee and the inside of the knee where most of my meniscus damage was....

So far surgeon wants me to keep weight off it until after post op visit. Stopped taking pain meds Friday as I have issues taking most narcotics and would rather just endure the pain... Anyways was wondering what other peoples experience was as far as time to walk/ run resuming weight training?? I've worked out regularly since i was a teen and would say I am in far above average condition with a lot of muscle mass. Being stuck doing pretty much nothing is killing me mentally... Want to resume exercising and lifting the rest of my body but doc wants me to wait a bit... How did other people handle the monotony of doing nothing? Any tips for rehab?
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:13 PM   #2
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How did other people handle the monotony of doing nothing?
You're doing it now.
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:25 PM   #3
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There is a blog about it with first hand patient experiences that you might find interesting.

http://www.acl-repair.com/

I tore my ACL in '09 on the wakeboard. I didn't get it fixed because it's not killing me (after the swelling went down) except when I try to wakeboard (oddly enough). It's cool though because I wake surf nowadays. What specific symptoms were you having that made you chose surgery?
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:36 PM   #4
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There is a blog about it with first hand patient experiences that you might find interesting.

http://www.acl-repair.com/

I tore my ACL in '09 on the wakeboard. I didn't get it fixed because it's not killing me (after the swelling went down) except when I try to wakeboard (oddly enough). It's cool though because I wake surf nowadays. What specific symptoms were you having that made you chose surgery?
Like you I waited. Ended up waiting almost 20 years with very few episodes. When I first did it I was walking normally about 2 weeks later and could run after about a month. Was doing everything, including most of what I shouldn't and was pretty much fine. Could still squat over 4 hundo and do most sports pretty much without issue.

About 2 months ago was playing in our annual coaches vs players game (i asst at the local high school) and jumped for a pass that was behind me and pushed off mthe bad leg when I was sprinting, the knee buckled badly and Heard audible tearing noises... Knee swole up but like before could walk normal again after 2 weeks or so. Unfortunately itbwas no longer stable and buckled on me a couple times after with the last time being pretty much nothing but walking down stairs. Knocked myself completely out that time and decided after that, it was time to fix it. I just didn't trust it anymore...

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Old 01-17-2011, 03:38 PM   #5
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I went thru this in 1996, ACL with the hammy graft. I was aggressive in my re-hab. My doc was often telling me to take it ez. But, I was 26 and wanted to get back at it. I was running at about 4 months. But dont expect much. The first time I ran it, it was about 3/4 of a mile and it took 14 minutes.
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:39 PM   #6
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Thanks for the site link.
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:40 PM   #7
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I went thru this in 1996, ACL with the hammy graft. I was aggressive in my re-hab. My doc was often telling me to take it ez. But, I was 26 and wanted to get back at it. I was running at about 4 months. But dont expect much. The first time I ran it, it was about 3/4 of a mile and it took 14 minutes.
How long until you were off crutches?
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:41 PM   #8
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Like you I waited. Ended up waiting almost 20 years with very few episodes. When I first did it I was walking normally about 2 weeks later and could run after about a month. Was doing everything, including most of what I shouldn't and was pretty much fine. Could still squat over 4 hundo and do most sports pretty much without issue.

About 2 months ago was playing in our annual coaches vs players game (i asst at the local high school) and jumped for a pass that was behind me and pushed off mthe bad leg when I was sprinting, the knee buckled badly and Heard audible tearing noises... Knee swole up but like before could walk normal again after 2 weeks or so. Unfortunately itbwas no longer stable and buckled on me a couple times after with the last time being pretty much nothing but walking down stairs. Knocked myself completely out that time and decided after that, it was time to fix it. I just didn't trust it anymore...
Sounds like a pretty good reason. I'm going to wait until my leg blows up as well.
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:44 PM   #9
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Sounds like a pretty good reason. I'm going to wait until my leg blows up as well.
I don't regret waiting at all. The surgery, or at least immediate aftermath, is pretty painful and I was fine for a long time. I'm sure the procedure is better now than it was when I first injured it as well...

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Old 01-17-2011, 04:46 PM   #10
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How long until you were off crutches?
On crutches? I was on them for a week, maybe less. I was supposed to be on them 3 or so weeks, as I remember. Also, now that I am thinking about it - I got my graft from a cadaver. I think things have probably changed dramatically since the mid 90s.
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Old 01-17-2011, 04:55 PM   #11
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Also, for cool story bro points:

Allograft -- transplanted tissue or organ from same species (ie cadaver or living donor)

Autograft -- transplanted tissue or organ from same patient, or occasionally an identical twin (genetically identical, also called an isograft).

Xenograft -- tissue or organ from another species
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:09 PM   #12
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I went with allograph just to avoid a hamstring problem later on...I am now part Tongan. I had a torn acl, pcl, stretched out my mcl and severed the artery all in one days work. Funny thing was, when I was doing rehab after my first surgery, I pulled my hammy working it to hard to get back on the field...so all in all it may not have been a bad idea to go autograph. I was having a tough time getting full range of motion back until I hit a freshly mopped floor hopping around the house w/o crutches and checked my knee up against the dishwasher...after passing out from pain...it was back in full range the next day at pt and the therapist was impressed although it was too sore to work it. Painkillers were the worse part...make you stink like a dog.

And my wife still says that doesn't compare to child birth....

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Old 01-17-2011, 05:15 PM   #13
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Also, for cool story bro points:

Allograft -- transplanted tissue or organ from same species (ie cadaver or living donor)

Autograft -- transplanted tissue or organ from same patient, or occasionally an identical twin (genetically identical, also called an isograft).

Xenograft -- tissue or organ from another species
I had autograft from my own hammy. Mistake in original post.... You docs have to make things so confusing
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:17 PM   #14
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I learned to play guitar while I was down...never hurts to do something you'd love to do while your out of commission.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:18 PM   #15
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I went with allograph just to avoid a hamstring problem later on...I am now part Tongan. I had a torn acl, pcl, stretched out my mcl and severed the artery all in one days work. Funny thing was, when I was doing rehab after my first surgery, I pulled my hammy working it to hard to get back on the field...so all in all it may not have been a bad idea to go autograph. I was having a tough time getting full range of motion back until I hit a freshly mopped floor hopping around the house w/o crutches and checked my knee up against the dishwasher...after passing out from pain...it was back in full range the next day at pt and the therapist was impressed although it was too sore to work it. Painkillers were the worse part...make you stink like a dog.

And my wife still says that doesn't compare to child birth....
Lol, my wife keeps saying the same thing... Women are sssoooo sympathetic....

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Old 01-17-2011, 05:21 PM   #16
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I went with allograph just to avoid a hamstring problem later on...I am now part Tongan. I had a torn acl, pcl, stretched out my mcl and severed the artery all in one days work. Funny thing was, when I was doing rehab after my first surgery, I pulled my hammy working it to hard to get back on the field...so all in all it may not have been a bad idea to go autograph. I was having a tough time getting full range of motion back until I hit a freshly mopped floor hopping around the house w/o crutches and checked my knee up against the dishwasher...after passing out from pain...it was back in full range the next day at pt and the therapist was impressed although it was too sore to work it. Painkillers were the worse part...make you stink like a dog.

And my wife still says that doesn't compare to child birth....
The painkillers make me feel severely hungover and I end up puking most of the time... Hate the things.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:22 PM   #17
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Although my experience may not be exactly the same as your experience (the ACL deal sounds painful) I've had my share of surgery over the past few years (two knees scopes and a broken ankle) and the best thing is to learn how to be patient. If you rush things too early, it will make rehab a lot longer and more painful. My doc said that constant running is out of my regimen but after a while I could manage to play some rec softball and later on I managed to ski and skate.

I still have to get the metal work out of my ankle because it aches like a mother f'er on cold or damp days, but that pain is nothing compared to the pain and frustration the first month or so after a major surgery. Just gut it out and be patient and just be thankful that you will be able to walk and run again, hopefully pain free.
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Old 01-17-2011, 05:35 PM   #18
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that pain is nothing compared to the pain and frustration the first month or so after a major surgery. Just gut it out and be patient and just be thankful that you will be able to walk and run again, hopefully pain free.
Good advice and too true...definitely need some time and being patient is tough. I cried like a lil beotch many nights out of pain and frustration and had severe depression...but I think that had a lot to do with the meds. Just make sure you call people that you nver had time for and make a list of things to do each day...I ended up learning how to treat shoulders and backs when I was at pt...made it fun to help others who were in the dispair mode.
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:22 PM   #19
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Thanks for the advice all. It's definitely not my nature to be patient.
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Old 01-17-2011, 07:20 PM   #20
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How did other people handle the monotony of doing nothing? Any tips for rehab?
I blew my ACL & MCL on the job when I was a lift Op @ Vail in '93 so there was no monotony. Steadman/Hawkins clinic surgery via work comp.... Rehabbed at the Athletic Club by day and Garf's & The Club by night.

No weight bearing necessary...Constant loop between Timber Ridge Apts., Lionshead & VTC thanks to many awesome Vail Transit drivers!

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Old 01-17-2011, 07:21 PM   #21
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I learned to play guitar while I was down...never hurts to do something you'd love to do while your out of commission.
This too!
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:04 PM   #22
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I had the same surgery.

I don't remember much severe pain after the first week or so but it was in the same place, where the tendon was taken out on the inside. When rehabbing you will probably find most of the pain is when you try and lift your leg off the ground while on your back or on your side and do slow leg kicks. Brutal. You will probably feel a lot pain during those exercises on the kneecap itself. This lasts a couple months but isn't bad pain as it only lasts during the exercises so I would drop the meds as quick as you can.

Getting off crutches in one week though doesn't sound reasonable or recommended. I didn't do much for first two weeks but hang on the couch and do leg lift exercises there. Didn't have the machine that exercises your legs while you sleep at night though, I hear those work quite well and really speed up the recovery. But I don't think they want you putting much direct pressure on it for 2 weeks or so.

I don't think I lost my crutch(es) completely until about six weeks. You use them less and less but it is good to have at least one for awhile as you start to put more pressure on the knee. Really good to have them if you trip.

I think if you lose them too early you will develop a hitchy walking style. They allow you to put as much pressure on the knee as you want at any given time. I also found the crutches helped with doing exercises while standing around, leg bends and stretches and stuff so I wouldn't be so quick to lose them.

If it is your right knee driving is an interesting one, especially braking. The problem is not pushing on brake but lifting your left off the gas pedal quickly. You don't have the ability to lift the leg back so well and you may not lift it high enough and hit the side of the brake instead of coming down on top of it. You may have to learn to brake with your left foot for a little while if you want to start driving very early in your recovery. Leave lots of space in front of you the first week driving.

The knee won't feel like your old knee for 12 to 18 months and probably closer to 18. You will feel some pain or it just won't feel like your old knee when you jump on it or try and cut for that long. Subconsciously you will probably favor the knee for that long or longer, especially going down stairs.

I know all of people who have swelling after they exercise on the knee years after the surgery. My doesn't. It is pretty much just as good as before but I can't jump as high anymore.

I thought the coolest thing about the surgery was watching it all live on the screen while the drill bits plows into the knee cavity or when your leg flies way above the table as he is tensioning in the new ligament.
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:16 PM   #23
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Oh, and I wouldn't do much running until you rebuild the muscles through weight training. Your leg muscles, especially your thigh and the small muscles right above the knee that allow you to lift the knee, will definitely atrophe and become much smaller than your good leg. It will take you several months to get it back to the same size as your other leg. I would focus on weight training and slow exercises like walking up and down stairs for the first 6 months and skip the running.
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Old 01-17-2011, 08:21 PM   #24
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I had a radial fracture of my tibia at the same time that I tore the ACL and MCL. Although mine was rebuilt in 81 I had similar issues. My MCL was replaced with something out of my quad and the quad actually is what gave me the most pain. As far as downtime I would go to the gym and lift even though I was on crutches and not supposed to. Just be smart about it and perform exercises that you are supported in and keep the weight down and your form up. Like previously stated I was feeling pretty normal by 12 months and strong by 18. Good luck with your recovery. I wish I could have waited but I had a similar experience to yours, except I was next to a handrail when my knee buckled and I was able to catch myself.
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Old 01-17-2011, 09:14 PM   #25
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Be sure to eat well and get plenty of good nutrients, so your body can rebuild itself. If you are anything like me, your surgical repaired leg atrophied down to the size of 14 year old girl's leg.
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